- Thousands of the Karen people previously fled to Thailand in April, when the Myanmar government conducted airstrikes on the Kayin State (formerly known as the Karen State), a state in Myanmar where many of the Karen people reside.
- Whenever similar events happen, Thailand lets the escaping villagers seek refuge for a few days. They return to Myanmar after the violence subsides.
- According to Thai Defense Ministry spokesperson Gen. Kongcheep Tantravanich, 861 of those who fled have already returned. The rest, a total of 3,355 people, are temporarily staying in the district of Mae Sot in the border province of Tak.
- Tantravanich noted that the area has been “sealed as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19,” adding that the Thai authorities are testing the refugees for the virus.
- On Monday, Deputy Defense Minister General Chaichan Changmongkol said that Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has ordered local authorities to give humanitarian aid to the refugees with assistance from the Thai military, reported ThaiPBS World.
- The Thai army has also issued a warning against Myanmar, stating that they will fight back should stray artillery shells fall into Thai territory.
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- Attacks reportedly escalated this year after the military junta took over Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in February, as NextShark previously reported.
- Last week, government troops reportedly raided Lay Kay Kaw, a village under the control of the Karen National Union (KNU). The KNU is a political organization that claims to be the representative of the Karen people living in Myanmar. According to independent local media, the Myanmar soldiers detained some of KNU’s members, including a National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker.